India’s second moon mission Chandrayaan-2 leaves earth’s orbit, moves towards moon

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India’s second moon mission ‘Chandrayaan-2’ left the earth’s orbit on Wednesday and is moving towards the moon following the successful completion of a crucial manoeuvre by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

“The final orbit raising manoeuvre of Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft was successfully carried out on Wednesday at 02:21 am. During this manoeuvre, the spacecraft’s liquid engine was fired for about 1203 seconds. With this, Chandrayaan-2 entered the Lunar Transfer Trajectory,” the statement said.

“Today (August 14, 2019) after the Trans Lunar Insertion (TLI) maneuver operation, #Chandrayaan2 will depart from Earth’s orbit and move towards the Moon,” ISRO said in a tweet.

Chandrayaan-2 will approach Moon on August 20 and the spacecraft’s liquid engine will be fired again to insert the spacecraft into a lunar orbit.  Following this, there will be further four orbit manoeuvres to make the spacecraft enter into its final orbit passing over the lunar poles at a distance of about 100 km from the Moon’s surface, it said.

Subsequently, Vikram lander will separate from the orbiter on September 2.  Two orbit manoeuvres will be performed on the lander before the initiation of powered descent to make a soft landing on the lunar surface on September 7, it added.

Earlier, the spacecraft’s orbit was progressively increased five times between July 23 to August 06, it said.

The health of the spacecraft is being continuously monitored from the Mission Operations Complex (MOX) at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bengaluru with support from Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennas at Byalalu, near Bengaluru. Since its launch on July 22, 2019 by GSLV MkIII-M1 vehicle, all systems onboard Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft are performing normal, it added.